FAQ on Electric Vehicle (EV) charging


Q1. Why can’t I get the same distance from an EV battery pack as I can from a petrol tank.

To explain why a battery pack is not the equivalent as a full tank of fuel consider the figures in the table below showing battery pack sizes and ranges as an equivalent of litres of petrol. Even the Tesla with its 750kg battery pack only contains the same energy as 8.95 litres of petrol.

That being said, looking at the last column a std petrol car at 10L/100lm uses something like 5.5 to 8.5 times the amount of energy an EV uses to cover the same distance.

Q2 Do I need a special charger to charge my EV at home.

Basically no, you can charge any commercially available EV from a standard household power point, with only the Nissan Leaf being the exception as it requires a 15amp power point.

To answer the question how quick can you charge an EV depends on the level of charging.  In Australia there are 3 levels of charging.

Level 1.

This is charging via a standard power point, a full charge will take between 6 to 12 hours depending on the vehicle. Providing you are happy with this type of charging time (usually overnight) then you do not need to install anything extra to charge your EV>

Level 2.

If you want a faster changing time, this is still possible from home by installing a level 2 capable lead. Like level 1 charging the charging lead provides 240V electricity from the power point to the vehicles on board charger. Charging times is generally 4 to 6 hours depending on the vehicle.

Level 2 charging leads are no more difficult for an electrician to install than an electric oven or air conditioner but for older houses the extra load may require an upgraded power cable from the street. Make sure you get a proper assessment of your household electrical system before having one fitted.

Level 3

In Australia level 3 charging is provided using the same J1772 plug that supplies the EV at level 1 or 2 however level 3 can supply up to 80amps charging which is generally beyond the capacity of a household power supply. If you have a very large incoming supply cable or the desire to install one you could have level 3 charging in your home.

Level 3 charging requires you have an electrician install a dedicated circuit breaker and suitable cable between the house’s circuit breaker box and the charging point. The cable between the street and the house would also need an upgrade, plus your household meter may also need upgrading.